DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

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Relationship With Others
 

The purpose of this lesson is to teach the importance of the church and the value of relationships.

Acts 2:42-47
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.
44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.
45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.


When we were baptized, God added us to the number of the saved - his church. What is the church?

Ephesians 1:22-23
22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,
23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.


The church is the body of Jesus. We cannot have a relationship with Jesus, if we don't have a relationship with his body, the church.

1 Corinthians 12:12-26
12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.
13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
19 If they were all one part, where would the body be?
20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!"
22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,
23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,
24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it,
25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.


Unity in the church. The church is the body of Christ. We are all members of that body. The members of the body must work together. Unity is extremely important. Analogy of a team in sports - one weak / selfish player can hurt the team.

Romans 12:1-8
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.
2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,
5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.
7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;
8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.


Talents - using your gift for the church. We all bring different talent into the kingdom. We must use our talent for the kingdom. What unique gift do you bring to the church? How do you resolve to use this talent for God?

Relationship in the body of Christ

Ephesians 4:1-6, 11-16
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
4 There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called--
5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,
12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.


Resolving conflicts. Unity is valuable - "make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit". Unity means that we don't avoid conflict; instead we speak the truth in love.

Matthew 18:15-17
15 "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.
16 But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'
17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.


This gives the model for resolving conflict. Our goal is to help each other become mature in Christ. We must have the welfare of others in our minds.

1 Thessalonians 2:3-6
3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you.
4 On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.
5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed--God is our witness.
6 We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you,


Honesty in relationships. In our relationships with one another we must be honest - no masks to cover up motives, no "smiling lies". How is your fellowship? Is it superficial or deep?

James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Confession. If you continue to struggle with the same sin, then confess to a brother so he can pray for you to overcome that sin.

Acts 16:1-5
1 He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek.
2 The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him.
3 Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
4 As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey.
5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.


Trust. Timothy trusted Paul. He trusted him to the point that he allowed Paul to circumcise him. We must trust that we can learn from others. We must have trust in our discipling relationships.

James 4:4
You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

2 Corinthians 6:14-16
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."


Friendship. Our best friends should be in the kingdom. After all, what fellowship can light have with darkness? Who are your best friends? Which people do you want to get closer to in the kingdom? How are you going to get closer to them?